The Year's Work in the Punk Bookshelf, or, Lusty Scripts

The Year's Work in the Punk Bookshelf, or, Lusty Scripts

The Year's Work in the Punk Bookshelf, or, Lusty Scripts

The Year's Work in the Punk Bookshelf, or, Lusty Scripts

Synopsis

This is the story of the books punks read and why they read them. The Year's Work in the Punk Bookshelf challenges the stereotype that punk rock is a bastion of violent, drug-addicted, uneducated drop outs. Brian James Schill explores how, for decades, punk and postpunk subculture has absorbed, debated, and reintroduced into popular culture, philosophy, classic literature, poetry, and avant-garde theatre. Connecting punk to not only Hegel, Nietzsche, and Freud, but Dostoevsky, Rimbaud, Henry Miller, Kafka, and Philip K. Dick, this work documents and interprets the subculture's literary history. In detailing the punk bookshelf, Schill contends that punk's literary and intellectual interests can be traced to the sense of shame (whether physical, socioeconomic, cultural, or sexual) its advocates feel in the face of a shameless market economy that not only preoccupied many of punks' favorite writers but generated the entire punk polemic.

Excerpt

The scene is straight out of an early Sergio Leone film, something probably featuring Clint Eastwood: grunting and poorly dubbed savages enter, with bravado, the main hall of Tromaville High and begin tossing hapless underclassmen aside, threatening to overrun the heretofore well-ordered oasis of Knowledge in a postmodern wasteland of primitivism. “It may just be my woman’s intuition, you guys, but somethin’s goin’ ahn. Look around you!” a short-skirted blonde frets, eyeing the brutes early in Lloyd Kaufman’s and Michael Herz’s campy 1986 film Class of Nuke ’Em High, a cross between Mark Lester’s exploitation flick Class of 1984 and Ted Post’s revenge western Hang ’Em High. Remembering the straight-A student who only a day earlier had without warning retched up a noxious green phlegm before throwing himself out a third-floor classroom window, the Valley Girl is remembering the nuclear power plant upwind from her high school (the recent meltdown of which had been covered up by local officials) and spying suspiciously this ramshackle collection of outlaws known as the Cretins. “Remember those guys?” she asks her clique with a nod. “They were the Honor Society. Now look at them.”

Flaunting wild and variegated Mohicans, tattered tees, scuffed leathers, and a fundamentally oafish demeanor, these brigands, Class of Nuke ’Em High suggests, are not just any fugitive mob, but have been converted by radiation into a gang of mindless punks. and just what sort . . .

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